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Can dishwashing gloves inflame a latex allergy?

If you are allergic to latex, your immune system thinks that a protein in this substance, which comes from rubber trees, is harmful to your body and tries to fight off the "danger." Latex is commonly found in rubber gloves, including dishwashing gloves.

Wearing dishwashing gloves made of natural rubber can certainly inflame a latex allergy. If you experience symptoms, such as itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, wheezing, chest tightness, dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, hives or flushing, swelling or itching of the skin, after wearing dishwashing gloves that contain latex, you may be having an allergic reaction. However, if you develop a delayed-onset rash one your hands (12 to 48 hours) after wearing dishwashing gloves, this is most likely contact dermatitis caused by the chemicals used in the manufacturing process of the gloves, and not a latex allergy.

Anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening reaction, may also result from exposure to latex in cases of a severe allergy. If you experience the symptoms of anaphylaxis, which include nausea, vomiting, weak or rapid pulse, wheezing, difficulty breathing, confusion and loss of consciousness, you need immediate medical attention as this can be fatal.

An allergist or immunologist can test you for a latex allergy and may prescribe an antihistamine for your symptoms. If you have a severe allergy, such as one that causes anaphylaxis, you may need to keep epinephrine with you so you can treat yourself immediately upon contact with latex.

If you are diagnosed with a latex allergy, you can still wear dishwashing gloves; you just need to buy gloves that do not contain latex. These include gloves made of vinyl, nitrile or synthetic latex.